Dynasty: Welcome to the world of Abbas Sajwani and AHS Properties

Dynasty: Welcome to the world of Abbas Sajwani and AHS Properties

Below is an article which appeared as Cover Story in the January edition of Arabian Business Magazine. 

Few names are as intrinsically connected to the UAE business world as that of Sajwani. 

The family behind the legendary DAMAC Properties, the Sajwani clan have a storied history tied to that of the UAE’s own meteoric global rise. 

The company was founded by visionary Emirati entrepreneur Hussain Sajwani, but now the next generation have begun to take their place as heirs to the empire. 

In this, Abbas Sajwani strikes a slightly different note. Simultaneously humble in the roots that moulded his impressive real estate acumen, while ambitious, with plans on conquering the market in ways unlike his own family. 

“From a very young age, it was always DAMAC at lunch and dinner at home,” Sajwani explains. 

Having real estate for lunch and dinner likely helped prepare Sajwani for his latest venture – launching luxury property firm AHS Properties. 

“I think that really helped me understand the real estate market, understand the whole business model, it’s really helped dealing with authorities and really helped motivate me to start AHS Properties. 

“It’s been a natural progression,” Sajwani explains. 

AHS Properties is an offshoot of AHS Group, a firm founded in 2017 by Sajwani when he was just 18 years old focused on ventures, investments and properties. Over the span of five years, Sajwani has taken this freshman to the business world and transformed it, with the firm now employing more than 2,000 employees with an asset value of $800 million. 

Perhaps AHS Properties represents the Group’s turn as a sophomore, with ultra-luxury properties placed firmly under the spotlight. 

“We launched it in 2021. Our focus was just pure luxury, ultra-luxury properties. We’ve learned a lot about the market, what the clients like, what they don’t like, where the market stands today in luxury,” Sajwani explains on the company’s launch. 

Dubai, AHS Properties’ home, already features a staggering array of breath-taking real estate projects, with Sajwani’s latest projects adding to the market’s vibrant mix. 

Take AHS One Canal, a nine-storey building in the highly desirable downtown area built around the concept of bringing villa living to the sky. Designed by Shaun Killa from Killa Design, the designer of Dubai’s Museum of the Future, and located at Dubai Canal, Sajwani’s favourite location in the city, the building offers a luxury product in a market that has struggled to cope with an overwhelming increase in demand over the past year. 

“When I saw that location, I fell in love with it. I thought it’s the ultimate address… I think that whole area is going to be the Mayfair of Dubai,” Sajwani says. 

In addition to AHS One Canal, the company launched property at another highly exclusive Dubai address – Palm Jumeirah. Prices for property on the Palm have skyrocketed this year, jumping well over 100 percent as overseas investors flock to the UAE’s shores. 

For Sajwani, it all has to do with beach living, “Beachfront property is very scarce, and there’s not much beachfront property in Dubai overall.” 

The fundamental scarcity of beachfront property has helped drive prices in the ultra to high-end luxury real estate market, although for Sajwani “it’s still not expensive.” 

“The market is good, but I don’t think it’s a bubble, Dubai is still undervalued. When you compare to London, New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Paris, even other cities in the Middle East, Dubai is not very expensive,” Sajwani says. 

Indeed, the ongoing price inflation in the market has come as a result of Dubai real estate being “undervalued.” 

“I think the prices will keep going up, as the buyers who bought from us are all end users, they’re not speculators, that means they’re buying for themselves.” 

As Sajwani explains this, it becomes obvious as to the gap he has sought to service with AHS Properties – the fundamentally supply constrained high-end luxury market. 

So, with constrained supply representing one side of the equation that has driven prices sky-high, what’s the other side of the coin? Well for Sajwani, he believes that the long-hand of Covid-19 continues to play a role – in particular, the UAE’s remarkable ability to handle 

the pandemic. 

“Dubai offers many things that many cities in the world don’t, and people didn’t realise that. During Covid they moved here because it was open during Covid, and spent three or four months here with their family and got used to it. They can’t go back now as they have realised what Dubai has to offer and that’s why they all want to stay.” 

In its short span of time in the market, AHS Properties has already seen some success, with three mansions in Palm Jumeirah sold, and two more under development and heading to market soon. 

Can the growth ever end? Not if Sajwani has anything to do with it, for him there’s room for price growth “in a big way.” 

“I think prices will keep growing because demand is going to keep becoming stronger. And supply for ultra-luxury products is limited. You don’t have another Palm Jumeirah,” he says. 

Sajwani’s bullishness extends further, to the emirate’s authorities, noting that Dubai is home to a “very, very, very good [real estate] system. I think one of the best in the world.” 

On the spectre of the 2009 financial crash, Sajwani dismisses the notion, “I don’t think there’s a bubble in the market.” 

Nor does he see the prices falling, instead he believes they will continue to go up. In this, Sajwani has put his own capital on the line, revealing that he purchased two plots of land on Jumeirah Bay Island to build his house. 

“It’s already up over 80 percent. I’m getting offers from people who are all end users and I’m not selling.” 

On his journey so far, Sajwani attributes his success to the lessons learned from his father, property mogul Hussain Sajwani: “I think I’ve learned a lot from my dad, everything I’ve learned is from him.” 

In particular, Sajwani vaunts his father’s detail-orientated approach to getting business done, along with his “very hands on leadership style.” 

“I think my management style and everything I’ve learned in business is from him.” 

As the interview comes to a close, it becomes clear that Sajwani’s obsession with producing the next generation of Dubai’s futuristic real estate developments is rooted in his own personal relationship with the property market. 

“It’s all I’ve heard about for the last 20 years, it’s all I’ve dreamed about. It’s always been real estate, real estate, real estate. I think that’s what really helped me found AHS Properties.” 

He has no plans to slow down as he continues to develop AHS Properties, while supplying and creating Dubai’s future luxury real estate 

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